ACTIVIST, MODEL, FOUNDER OF GURLS TALK
Adwoa Aboah’s striking features have made her a force within the world of fashion. Since the age of 16, she has dominated runways and campaigns from Calvin Klein to Fendi and has appeared on Vogue magazines across the globe—but it’s her commitment to uplifting young women that has earned her a spot on the 2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women list. Having founded an online community for young women called Gurls Talk in 2015, Aboah is steadfast in her commitment to providing a safe space for youth to discuss a range of issues from mental health to sexuality.
Here, in her own words, she tells OkayAfrica about the significance of Gurls Talk and how she hopes it will transform the world into a more inclusive, feminist place.
I started Gurls Talk off the back of my own experiences and struggles as a girl, and then a woman. It became apparent to me that I’d lacked the confidence to share and speak out about the issues affecting me, and so I wanted to build a community within which all of those issues society deems taboo—such as sexuality, mental health and female physical health—were discussed openly. Gurls Talk has created a safe space for young women and girls to talk about issues which society may deem taboo, such as sexuality, mental health and female physical health. Not only do we have our podcast, website and social platforms, but we have hosted incredible events around the world for our community. These events really bring to life all the work we do—from hard-hitting panel discussions, to feminist poetry readings, safe places for girls to share their stories and ask advice, self-care sessions..and so much more.
Gurls Talk brings me so much joy. I feel incredibly lucky every day to be part of a network of such incredible and brave young women (and men) who want to influence positive change in the world. The challenges I may face day-to-day also gives me strength. At Gurls Talk, we talk about a lot of hard issues, so sometimes I have to share or discuss some really raw experiences, but that is exactly why we are here, and I feel that community support instantly. The Gurls Talk community inspires me every day—they express themselves through beautiful artwork, essays, poetry, stories and so much more.
I can’t imagine anything more important than our youth. I know from my own experience working alongside my community and peers that young people are so much more powerful than people give them credit for. We are rallying together to make positive change in the world, and combat issues affecting us, head on
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity